EDITORIAL: THIS IS A ZIFA MESS

FRIDAY was a horrible day for our beautiful country when our Warriors somehow conspired to lose their 2026 World Cup qualifier against Lesotho in Johannesburg.

The 0-2 defeat left the Warriors bottom of the group, without a win in three World Cup qualifiers, while Lesotho shot to the top of the table with five points from as many games.

The Crocodiles, who were considered the group’s lightweights, are unbeaten in their three qualifiers after holding Nigeria and Benin in their first two games and beating the Warriors.

We were expected to win that match, that’s what all the bookmakers told us and that is what history also told us. There is no question that we are a better football nation than Lesotho even though our Southern African counterparts have made significant strides in improving their national team.

Lesotho do not have players who play in the English Premiership, the Italian Serie A, the French Ligue 1 and the top-flight league of Belgium.

In contrast, we have players who are plying their trade in all those major leagues in Europe.

What Lesotho have, and what we don’t have, when it comes to football is ORGANISATION. Lesotho have a football association which knows that their mandate is to run the game and not to pick players for the national team.

They know that is the job of those who were taught to coach footballers and football teams and not those who run the game in the offices.

That is why they left that assignment to their coach while, somehow, ZIFA decided to go against the grain and, for the first time in the history of the association, called up players rather than leave that job for the coach.

ZIFA then picked a coach, at the very last minute, and brought in Jairos Tapera to guide a team whose players he didn’t pick. They knew they were throwing Tapera into the deep end and they knew it was not right to use a World Cup qualifier as an initiation process for a coach who had never handled a national team at this level.

This is the same ZIFA which used a World Cup qualifier to introduce Brito to the world of coaching a national team for the first time in his career. 

That was in November last year.

Then, they did the same with Tapera last Friday.

What this means is that in our three World Cup qualifiers, we have been guided by coaches whose CVs show that they have only been in charge of three World Cup battles.

Surely, this isn’t the recipe for success at this level of football.

We can have experiments in the COSAFA Cup but we should never have such experiments when it comes to the World Cup. It’s something that we expected those who are running ZIFA to know but it appears they have little knowledge of what a World Cup pursuit means.

Let’s not blame our players because this is a ZIFA mess and they know it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *